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Editorial: Trump’s anti-refugee actions are running aground across the country

A consistent theme of the Trump administration is its attacks on the country’s refugee system.

One of President Trump’s first actions, as part of the Muslim travel ban, was a temporary freeze on refugee resettlements and an overall decrease in the number of people allowed into the country. Every year since, the White House has lowered the number of refugees the U.S. will accept — the 2020 ceiling of 18,000 stands in dramatic contrast to 110,000 at the beginning of 2017.

But the holiday spirit has not yet been eliminated in this country.

In fact, one way it shines brightly has been the response of state and local governments — of all political persuasions — to the Trump administration’s attack on refugees.

Across the U.S., both Democratic and Republican officials are standing up to the Trump adminstration’s attacks on our refugee system by encouraging resettlement to continue within their boundaries.

The response has been a surprise to the White House, which expected something different when Trump issued an executive order this fall that allowed states and localities to veto refugee resettlements.

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A few weeks after signing the order, during a campaign rally in Minneapolis, Trump bemoaned the number of Somali refugees in the state. He reveled in the crowd’s boos at the mention of this vulnerable population. Then, to crowd cheers, Trump boasted about offering more “local control” for resettlement.

Yet so far, no governor has accepted Trump’s offer to bar their doors to refugees.

More than 30 governors have sent consent letters to Washington.

So far, not a single one of them has said no.

The list includes governors in conservative strongholds, like West Virginia, Indiana, Nebraska and Tennessee.

Tennessee must have been a particular blow to the Trump White House — it was inspired to offer “local control” by a series of measures introduced by Tennessee state representatives, and the former Republican governor there called for a temporary resettlement halt after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

Read Also: IOM returns over 18, 000 migrants

In Utah, the Republican governor, Gary Herbert, went even further in his letter to the president. “I encourage you to allow us to accept more international refugees in Utah,” Herbert wrote. “We know the need has not decreased and are eager to see the number of admittances rise again.”

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The response from local governments has been much the same.

Burleigh County, North Dakota is rarely in the national news, but this staunchly conservative district of 95,000 made a splash earlier this month after more than 500 local residents packed a county commission meeting to discuss resettlement. The commission voted 3-2 to continue accepting refugees.

The story isn’t over yet.

There are still a number of governors and local governments who have yet to weigh in, and they still have several weeks in which to do so. The Trump administration still has a number of cards it may play to further reduce resettlement, including limiting the number of providers that are authorized to do the critical work of finding sponsors, housing and job opportunities for refugee arrivals.

Still, an overall pattern has emerged across the country. It’s one that speaks well of America’s ability to consider its international responsibilities beyond partisan politics. It’s also a story of Americans’ willingness to project hospitality and grace in a dark time, when it would be all too easy to reject those who are fleeing persecution and danger.

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That’s a story that is welcome any time of the year, but especially right now.

This commentary is from The Chronicle’s editorial board. We invite you to express your views in a letter to the editor. Please submit your letter via our online form:

(SFChronicle.com/letters)

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  IOM assists border control on route linking Ethiopia, Kenya

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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READ  256 men, women, children die in Mediterranean Sea routes as at April 22
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